Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nothing Like The Real Thing

This year, more homes will have artificial Christmas trees than real trees. According to this story by Darryl Fears and Robert Samuels in The Washington Post, this Christmas, in homes across the country, it will be “50 million fake trees vs. 30 million fresh ones,…”

In our home it will be both. Seven years ago, when Mama Wordbones and I combined our households, the Christmas tree debate was an open issue. She had a fake tree and I was old school, nothing but the real thing for me. We were equally and emphatically committed to our positions so the only reasonable compromise was to have two trees.

Her reasoning on the superiority of fake trees is backed up by a study conducted by the American Christmas Tree Association which concluded that “fake trees have a lower carbon footprint — if consumers hold on to fake trees for six to 10 years — considering the energy it takes to chop, water and transport fresh trees annually.”

Real tree people have their own advocacy group, the National Christmas Tree Association. Of course, the NCTA has also studied the issue and found that purchases of real trees “encourages farmers to keep planting acres that absorb carbon dioxide from the air, soak up storm-water runoff full of nutrient and sediment pollution before it pours into waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay, and provide habitat for wildlife.”

They also refute the carbon footprint argument.

“The real trees also have a smaller carbon footprint than ones made with plastic and shipped mostly from factories in China, said Stephanie Flack, Potomac River Project director for the Nature Conservancy. “This time of year, while people are thinking of gifts they get from under the tree, they should be thinking about the gift from trees,” Flack said.”

For real tree sellers in HoCo, yesterday was Black Saturday, the busiest day of the season for real tree transactions. As we have for the past seven years, Peanut and I visited the Groundshog stand at the YMCA in Ellicott City to pick out our real tree. The man at the stand told us that he expected to sell somewhere around 650 trees this year, a little better than last year. Between his Catonsville location and Ellicott City, Ellicott City does more business.

For now, in HoCo at least, real trees seem to be holding their ground.

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